Three Day Stews

I have always cooked stews with enough meat for two days but recently I accidentally did enough for three days. I found I can adapt a stew by accompanying mash or roast potatoes, rice, cous cous and so on. Also, you can add some spices and various vegetables to make the meal variable and delicious.

Today, I’ve cooked chicken, beef and pork casseroles and left them on a slow, low heat to cook.

Basically, I divided the meat into three separate pots and threw into the oven on a high heat to crisp up the meat.

Whilst they were getting a blast of heat, I proceeded to cut up the vegetables: carrots, onion, pepper, mushrooms with seasoning and herbs.

Then I made a pot of gravy for the stews which consisted of meat stock, veg stock, tomato purée and a cheeky splash of port. Oh yes.

The pork also had an additional sauce of honey, French mustard, herbs and seasoning to make it sweet and succulent.

After an hour I took the three pots of meat out of the oven and added the honey mixture to the pork, gravy an veggies to all three stews. Only a little gravy to the pork though because hoping for a sticky thick sauce for the pork. After about six hours slow cooking, they will go in my freezer and I shall have one stew per week. Each one will last for three days.

You can adapt them, as above, and it means when you come home from a long day at work, you have something yummy to tuck into.

Thank you for visiting my blog.

It’s All About (The) Blogging Niche

I’ve been blogging for a few months and I’m happy with how it is going.  However, I am aware that, as the title suggests, it is a little too much of a mishmash.

When researching advice on starting a blog, some bloggers suggest finding a niche, but some think it is fine just to blog about multiple passions. What do you think? Blogging was originally meant to be a log about life issues. The most popular blogs are Huffington and Mashable.

I’ve decided to focus on health, fitness and wellbeing. The wellbeing bit, will cover reviews, food and life observations. This does cover a lot, which is the idea of the blog, but retains some sort of a niche. I will throw in the odd book/film review so I suspect nothing will change.

Thank you to everyone that has followed my blog and put up with my musings about life. Personally, I really enjoy writing the blog and plan to continue.

Thank you,

Andy x

A Weekend Getaway

Decided to go down to the coast and languish on the beach for a weekend getaway. The weekend weather looked promising and the sun was blazing so it will be warm by the coast, won’t it? With chairs, jumper and a scarf, which resembles a blanket, I thought I’d be warm enough. I was correct. Well, sort of. Although blustery, it felt quite cosy watching the waves, reading my new book and relaxing. The warm sunshine on my face was warm and welcome. Not sure I’ve managed to sit on a British beach before, in March? This trip has been quite uplifting because the British winter seems interminable this year and I’m glad of some sea air.

It is invigorating to get out and about rather than succumbing to cabin fever. I have been known to meander to the sea shore, visit art galleries and enjoy the tranquil break by the sea, doing my own thing.

After a couple of hours, I took off and stopped for a cuppa, which tasted of sawdust, then walked to the pier. Why do cafes provide rubbish tea? The place had a negative atmosphere when I walked in. Maybe it was my windswept look that shocked 😳 them. Or maybe the putrid tea.

The brisk walk became suddenly very brisk. Ok, now it felt a bit chilly, so I admired the floral display and pier, then, turned around and went back, speedily, to the warmth of the car. Was I a bit bonkers to visit the coast on a windy, sunny day in March? Well, it felt great. Always feels like a mini holiday when you spend some time away from your normal environment.

Do you do this? If not, perhhaps you should. But pick the cafe stop wisely.

London – Evening out with moments of reflection…

 

Several months ago, five of us had booked to hear a lecture on Gin, History and Chemical Science, at the RSC, Burlington House, London. As always, these evening events are a great excuse for catching up with family, plus enjoying some wine, beer and food in the process.

 

Trafalgar Square

As we strolled from the railway station through Trafalgar Square, towards the Piccadilly Circus area, we were instantaneously struck by the unnatural atmosphere after the appalling atrocities of the afternoon before. Everyone was respectful and subdued. People were observing the pavement art work and some were waiting for the Major of London to arrive and speak at a rally to show solidarity. Everyone seemed hushed, observant, considerate and emotional. Most of the sound seemed to be the helicopters above, police vans and sirens.  It certainly wasn’t business as usual in London that evening. I couldn’t help feeling proud to be British, be grateful and take a few moments to think about the individuals injured or who had lost their precious lives so unexpectedly and needlessly.

RSC and Gin Lecture

We met other members of our party at the RSC, and enjoyed a complimentary gin and tonic. Very good gin, made by three chemists, one of them, Professor Andrew Whiting, was giving the talk.

The lecture was excellent and inspirational. Professor Andrew Whiting explained about the history and resurgence of the gin industry and his background. He then spoke about the business and their approach to developing innovative gins with imaginative flavours. He also talked about the marketing and branding approach going from the original Breaking Bad image towards a modern, slick and more wholesome brand, thus attracting a wide customer base. May have to check out the chocolate flavoured gin for future reference!

Afterwards, we went for a quick drink and meal and then caught a train home feeling very tired, happy and appreciative. We all had an enjoyable evening out which gave me an insight to the business of gin, humility and respect.

London – A challenging day out…

A day out in London shouldn’t be complicated. But it was. Very complicated and challenging. My friend and I decided to frequent London for a day trip of art, decadence and fun. Well, what a challenging day it was. Everything that could go wrong, did! However, we have a wonderful friendship and just laughed it off.

We arrived at the railway station and were informed that trains are not going to our planned stop and we would have to alight at London Bridge. Of course, our plans then had to change. We got off at London Bridge and Elaine, who is from London, decided we should get a red bus so “we could see London” which seemed OK, although I always ride on the Tube.

We waited and waited for the bus and then realised it doesn’t travel on Saturdays. We started walking and managed to catch a bus to St. Paul’s near the roof top bar. Got off and went to the roof top bar, Madison. The first lift got stuck at level 1 and then went back to the ground floor. We changed lifts and managed to arrive at the bar. The lift to the bar is glass and as you slowly ascend you see St. Paul’s Cathedral which is magnificent. We ordered wine, sat and admired the view and took copious photos. As we chatted away we realised we should make our way to Tate Britain to see the David Hockney exhibition. This apart from roof top cocktails, was the point of the day.

Yes, you guessed it, we got another bus and because it was St. Patrick’s Day, the powers that be in their wisdom, decided to shut The Strand as we waited for our bus connection.  We got the Tube to Pimlico (via Victoria).

On the way to the Tate, we popped into the restaurant to reserve a table for two, for that evening.  Wonderful views, cocktails and food expected, as researched online. The restaurant was shut for a function. “Sorry.” said to waitress.

We arrived at Tate Britain and bought our tickets for Hockney. The tickets were for 7pm that evening. As it was 3pm, we decided to view the galleries, have dinner and return for the long-awaited exhibition.

We thoroughly enjoyed the gallery and wonderful art then found a pub, which although a bit basic, was OK. The food was reasonable and frankly, I was glad to sit down.

The Hockney exhibition was superb and worth the wait. His work goes from the British avant-garde of the 1950s with phallic shapes and his looming (then) illegal sexuality coming out, literally, in his paintings. The period moves on to mid-late 1960s, with a blaze of blue and vivid green, towards poolside paradise and comfort. This is a fascinating insight into his life in sunny California.

Hockney is fascinated by water, glass and shimmering light. In his art, his version of humanity feels flat among the velvet, sumptuous furniture. A type of painting that has an accidental three-dimensional, sentimental effect which slowly draws you in because the colours are vibrant and stimulating. Although perspective sometimes seems wrong and inferior, the paintings are emotionally magnetic. Well, they are for me and judging by the crowds, for others too. Full of illusion and curiosity and subtle elements such as the white cat facing a window and unflattering features of his friends with a backdrop of clarity and modernistic lines. As you look at the faces of his friends, you wonder how disappointed they must have been by his depiction of them. Not flattering at all.

Overall, we felt the day was worth the difficulties. Life is complicated and you have to make the best of it with a little moaning along the way. Anyway, as I pointed out to my friend, who can remember the days when her father could park his car, along the banks of the Thames, Grosvenor Road, in Pimlico, if you don’t deal with the exacting problems, you will never do anything.

Thank you for reading my piece and don’t forget to press the follow button.

Massive

When I spotted the above word prompt, it made me realise this is a good word to describe how much I enjoy writing my blog. The amount of enjoyment from writing my musings on life is massive. It has become an outlet for my protracted thoughts on life and opinions. Also, I’ve really enjoyed reading and following blogs too. They are an amazing source of information from countries and cultures across the world.

Blogging becomes a way of receiving news and creative endeavour through ideas and perspective. It is interesting to read a blog from someone who has lived a completely different life.

Also, reading other bloggers’ views appears unbiased because although some bloggers receive funds, most don’t and happily express their own views and are a million miles away from traditional popular magazine or newspaper type media.

It is great to have the freedom to write about what you want, when you want. Hopefully, this blog will improve and I’m aiming to make some changes. More details soon…

Cheers, Andyx

#Massive

 

 

 

 

Is there such a thing as intentional living?

I hope you enjoy the mishmash of my thoughts on intentional living!

To me, it is easy to drift through life and do the same thing day in, day out in a habitual way. We have choices in life and it is easy to forget that. After a tragic family event, my aim is to enjoy life. It is possible to do what you like to do. Money comes into it, but you can often do stuff cheaply.

Sometimes it is a good idea to step back and evaluate what you have. Recently, I decided to look at my home and had a massive declutter.  It is easy to keep clutter because you just stop seeing it. Have two huge sacks ready to go as we speak.

Another thing is that I’ve joined a group of walkers for not only exercise but to meet new people and enjoy the company of engaging folk with fresh views on life.

Trying to decide how you can improve life is a good idea rather than just aimlessly carry on with it. Of course, it is tricky if you have children, but can still be done with some effort. If you think about life, read, explore issues and go out and about it becomes a good way to examine your interests, talents and passions.

People often continually moan about things and this is fair enough up to a point. We all do it. However, sometimes it is good to step back, take risks and change things isn’t it?  Turn of the TV and go out and do stuff. Write a book, walk, paint, declutter, decorate, socialise, etc. To answer my question intentional living is possible if you decide to do it. What do you think and what have you done?

Conclusions…

  • Evaluate life and who you spend time with
  • Make some choices
  • Discover your passions and do them
  • Stop complaining
  • Turn TV/Screens off

Thanks for reading and don’t forget to follow, if you like my musings.

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